Cape Cod

Testimony Begins for Man Accused of Murdering Yarmouth Police Sergeant

Thomas Latanowich, 32, is charged with first-degree murder and eight other counts in the shooting death of Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon on April 12, 2018

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Testimony begins Monday in what is expected to be a month-long trial for the man accused of killing Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon over three years ago.

Thomas Latanowich, 32, whose last known address was in Somerville, is charged with first-degree murder and eight other counts in the shooting death of Gannon on April 12, 2018, as he and six other officers were serving a warrant at a Barnstable home.

STAY IN THE KNOW

icon

Watch NBC10 Boston news for free, 24/7, wherever you are.

icon

Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.

Gannon's dog Nero was also shot in the face and neck, but survived.

Latanowich has pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail since his arrest. Opening arguments were heard Friday in Barnstable Superior Court.

Latanowich's lawyer, Joseph Krowski Jr., argued last year that his client should not face first degree murder charges, but possibly involuntary manslaughter or second degree murder. He said the grand jury pool was "poisoned" by information about Latanowich's criminal past.

Latanowich has a lengthy criminal history. When he was arrested in December of 2016 and charged in a non-fatal stabbing, Yarmouth police described him as a "notorious and violent criminal" with over 100 prior criminal charges in Massachusetts. Many of the charges were later dismissed.

Krowski said Friday that "not a single fact has been established or proved in this case." He said his client thought someone else was after him when he opened fire -- not police -- because the officers failed to announce themselves when they arrived.

"There will be no evidence, no evidence presented by the Commonwealth that Thomas Latanowich knew it was a police officer," he said.

But the first witness called Friday, Barnstable Lt. Michael Clark, told the jury that's not true.

"A male voice was saying, 'Tommy, come out, we have a warrant, we have a K9," Clark said.

Krowski said that still doesn't excuse the fact that police didn't call the SWAT team until after Gannon was shot, and didn't file a report until days later.

The trial is expected to last three to four weeks. As COVID cases rise, the judge told jurors to be extra careful and to try to avoid large crowds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Us